Family pay tribute to one of the UK's oldest people with Down's syndrome (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Thornaby family pay tribute to one of the UK's oldest people with Down's syndrome
A NORTH-EAST family today paid tribute to one of the country’s oldest men with Down’s syndrome whilst calling for more to be done to educate children about the condition.
Popular 62-year-old Mickey Colbert died from pneumonia on Saturday, October 19 after months of ill health.
The Thornaby man was believed to have been one of the oldest people in the UK living with Down’s syndrome, a genetic condition which typically causes a level of learning disability and a characteristic range of physical features.
His carers, cousin Ken Robinson and his wife, Fiona, said life with mischievous, fun-loving Mickey was often challenging but always rewarding.
Mr Robinson, who shared his life with Mickey from the age of four, said: “When I was at school, kids would call him names and it could be hard, there wasn’t enough support for him or for me.
“When people got to know him, they loved him but sometimes children would shy away from him, which was a shame because he loved kids and didn’t have any malice in him.
“Mickey had everybody he met up and doing things they wouldn’t normally do. He brought the kid out in everyone.
“He once got us thrown out of a shop because he got me playing on the escalators with him and he loved to drag people up to dance.”
The couple now want to introduce children to those living with Down’s at an early age in a bid to dispel myths and encourage better understanding of the condition.
Mr Robinson said: “There should be an education system in place in schools so that people understand about difference and look at people and learn a bit about them before judging them.
“It’s not just about Down’s, it could be a soldier coming back from Afghanistan missing a leg. There needs to be more tolerance of people who are a bit different to the norm.”
Mrs Robinson added: “One of the biggest myths to dispel is that people with Down’s die in middle age. I think it is testament to how loved and looked after Mickey was that he lived to such a long age.
“Life with Mickey was sometimes a bit of a tragic comedy, but nothing worthwhile is easy and he brought so much to our lives, he will be missed forever.”
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